How the Centre for Academic Communication can support your writing

By Madeline Walker

Experienced tutor Gillian Saunders helps a graduate student

In graduate school, students are expected to write skillfully in their disciplines, yet explicit writing instruction via academic writing courses is rare at the grad level. Moreover, instructors are not often able to provide the intensive mentorship many students require, and if they can, such supervision “is costly and time consuming” (Dunleavy, 2003, p. 4). Tutors at the Centre for Academic Communication help to close this gap in grad student support by providing regular meetings to talk about writing, help to plan writing, and work on specific writing issues.

Grad students benefit from CAC tutors’ knowledge of and experience in graduate academic writing.  Additionally, graduate students appreciate the continuity of support  we offer. For example, one MA student finds that meetings with her busy supervisor are sporadic, but she can count on a weekly meeting with a tutor to check in. Another Master’s student (EAL) saves questions throughout the week and uses his time with a tutor to check vocabulary, syntax, meaning, and organization of his thesis in computer science, questions he deems inappropriate to ask his supervisor.

Students also appreciate the encouraging, non-judgmental approach we take during tutoring sessions. Writing at the graduate level involves developing a new scholarly identity, and this process can be fraught with anxiety and self-doubt.  Students often feel reassured after meeting with a tutor because they realize they are on the right track. They can set goals and talk about how to be more productive—topics their supervisors may not have time to discuss.

Graduate students number over 3,000 at UVic, and they need academic writing support. With faculty members supervising multiple graduate students in addition to their teaching, research, and service commitments, the role of the Centre for Academic Communication has never been so important.  Connect with us by creating an account online and booking an appointment with a tutor. Check out our spring schedule for tutoring, workshops, and other services. Come to the Grad Writing Room, Library 151B on Fridays from 10 to 1, where you write in community with others. Or just drop by and say hello.  We’re located on the main floor of the  Mearns Centre for Learning – McPherson Library. We’d love to see you.







Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.